Bloody Elbow Judo Chop: Jon Jones Unleashes the Salaverry on Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC on Versus 2

Jon Jones has become recognized as a phenomenal talent. From his early days in the UFC he was getting Judo Chop'd for his amazing use of Greco-Roman, freestyle and judo throws against Stefan Bonnar. Then he drew notice for integrating wrestling, unconventional strikes and a very novel choke against Jake O'Brien.

Last week against Vladimir Matyushenko he showed that he's continuing to improve by adding a lethal top control jiu jitsu game. Training with Greg Jackson has been paying off. In his first fight under Jackson's wing, he unleashed a brutal brand of ground and pound inside Brandon Vera's guard.

Last week, he trapped Matyushenko after softening him up on the feet with a spinning back kick and bringing him down with a single leg plus an Ouchi Gari trip. From there he moved in for the kill by attaining a devastating top control position called the crucifix or "Salaverry" after Ivan Salvaverry's use of it at UFC 37 against Andrei Semenov.

Like Joe Rogan, I prefer to call it the Salaverry rather than the crucifix because the crucifix also refers to two other positions seen in mma: the jiu jitsu crucifix (or "Goodridge")which involves trapping the opponent's arms from behind and the crucifix neck crank.

In addition to Salaverry, the move has been famously used by Matt Hughes in wins over Carlos Newton and B.J. Penn and Roy Nelson over Kimbo Slice.

Let's look at some gifs in the full entry.


Gifs by Chris Nelson.

Jones1_mediumBefore we start in on the jiu jitsu portion of the discussion, let's look at this tasty spinning back kick that Jones lands. I asked Dave Walsh of the kickboxing blog Head Kick Legend about it:

Jon Jones executes what is known in Tae Kwon Do as the spinning back kick. Don't be fooled by that, as the kick exists in just about every form of striking arts under its own name and serves the same purpose. The purpose of the spinning back kick is usually to throw your opponent off balance and to set up your next move while inflicting maximum damage. If performed properly it'll leave the attacker open to throw a follow up strike, sending the receiver back and leaving the attacker in a stance that allows him to attack. The power exerted is usually strong enough to not only throw an opponent off balance, but if it connects with the point of the heel as intended the damage it can do can be devastating. In the case of Jones, he threw all of his body weight into the kick and was able to push Vladamir back a considerable distance and break his rhythm, which in the context of a fight is very important. Of course the distance he created was too much for a direct follow up attack in this case, but Jones was throwing this kick to hurt not to set up.

Bloody Elbow's Mike Fagan added this comment:

(Lyoto) Machida talks about this in his DVD. And Jones looks like he does it correctly. He keeps his kicking (left) leg close to his body before shooting it out to kick. I would bet that Jones has watched the DVD.

Jones2_mediumAnd now for the take down. Matyushenko lunges in behind a short left hook. Jones easily ducks it and grabs Vladdy's left leg behind the knee with his right arm and wraps his left arm around Matyushenko's waist. Note that Matyushenko immediately gets an underhook with his right arm -- preventing Jones from landing a double leg take down.

But it takes more than getting one underhook to stop Jones from taking his opponent to the ground. He picks up the single leg and steps his left leg inside Matyushenko's right for what Judokas call the Ouchi Gari and wrestlers call an inside leg trip. Note that Matyushenko acutally gets his right foot planted on the ground before he falls but with the single leg attack, it's too little to keep him upright. They land in half guard, with Jones' right leg trapped between Matyushenko's legs.

Jones3_mediumOn the right we see the ground action about thirty seconds after the take down. Matyushenko still has half guard, but not for long. Jones has a very deep underhook with his right arm up under Matyushenko's left arm pit. He flattens Vladdy's right leg to the ground with his left foot and uses that opportunity to free his right leg from Matyushenko's half guard. Note the position of Matyushenko's right hand throughout this sequence. Initially he's holding Jones' bicep but by the end, his hand is in nearly the same position but is now trapped in the crook of Jones' elbow and Jones appears to be working to gain wrist control with his left hand.

Jones4_mediumNow we see Jones establish wrist control of Matyushenko's right arm and immediately use it to straighten Vlad's arm out so he can pin it under his left leg. Note how he adjusts his weight to move his hips up once he has the arm pinned down.

He only lets go of the wrist control once he is comfortable that he has Matyushenko's arm pinned by first one knee and then a second. Matyushenko still has his left arm wrapped around Jones' head but his legs, which start the gif way up high over Jones' head have fallen back to the ground.

Jones5_mediumNow Matyushenko releases Jones' head and bucks his hips off the mat in a desperate attempt to throw Jones off over the top. No dice. Jones immediately resets and holds the position. Matyushenko is in deep, deep trouble. Note that even though Matyushenko has released Jones' head, he doesn't posture up. Instead he remains curled tightly around Matyushenko's head.

Next the barrage will begin.

Jones6_mediumNow we're in the kill zone. On the left Jones has established an utterly dominant position and proceeds to land a series of elbows/forearms to Matyushenko's skull with his left arm.

I count eight unanswered blows before the ref steps in to stop it. Some have complained about this stoppage, but it seems to be a very sound call in my opinion. Jones isn't going anywhere and the referee is there to protect the fighters.

The addition of a ground game focused on finishing fights via utterly brutal ground and pound to Jones' already effective albeit eccentric stand up striking and take down game is nothing but bad news for anyone in the UFC's light heavyweight division.

As always, bear in mind that I don't train in any martial art or combat sport and am just relating what I've learned online, from watching fights or reading books. Please correct my mistakes in the comments, we're hear to learn!

Here's an Ivan Salaverry HL video. The "Salaverry" on Semenov happens at around the 1:28 mark of the video. You can also see his figure four body lock/neck crank against Tony Fryklund.

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